On Entrepreneurship

Sally Allen

Posted on January 04 2021

Happy New Year!
     I write this blog on the first anniversary of Studio Girl Shoes. This blog is a place to organize my thoughts, share some useful information on my wins and fails in Year 1 of organizing and launching a Relationship Retail Business, and learn from those who read and share information on this blog.
    So, why did I start a shoe business during a pandemic?  Well, the short answer is, of course, that I had no idea that our world would shut down on or about March 12, 2020. By then, my initial order had been placed, I was emotionally "bought-in," and I knew at my core that I could make this work.
     The long answer to that question is that I had been contemplating going back to work after years away from retail, raising my family, loving staying home but always itching to be back in the game. I have a very specific and quirky list of non-negotiables in order to allow me to go back to work in a capacity that would be fulfilling, doable and practical.
IT has to be in my wheel-house.  A space where I'm comfortable and knowledgeable. I spent my entire career on the front-end of retail--helping some of the world's best retailers build customer-centric organizations by delighting customers and maximizing employee performance.
IT has to meet my rather strict work/life balance.  I want, no need, to work from home, continue to play tennis and workout, be home to make dinner for my family and not be too exhausted to manage the house and kids. Working a "typical" work-week without daily flexibility is a non-starter given my spouse's crazy schedule.
IT has to be something profoundly innovative, closely aligned to my personal and professional values, fun, and something no one else is doing.
     The IT is TANYA HEATH Paris, an innovative French shoe store located in Paris's Rive Gauche.  I reached out to Tanya with low expectations that she'd be interested in my idea.  On the contrary, I found Tanya to be inspirational, inquisitive and open to ideas. After several conversations and email exchanges, she guided me on a capsule assortment, from which I could run a U.S. test of this amazing brand.
      Like every other business in America, COVID-19 forced me to re-think the business model. Now a year later, I have moved the home office to the basement where I also store hundreds of pairs of the first ever multi-height shoes, hand-crafted in Europe and almost a thousand heels. From tariffs and international shipping to product assortment and SEO, the learning trajectory has been like riding the Six Flags Kingda Ka Roller Coaster!
     I'm ready for 2021! As people begin again to roam about the country, go to work, make dinner plans with friends, I have no doubt that women will need shoes on their feet (comfortable ones at that) and clothes on their back (and many of us may even need to go up a pant size). Tanya Heath US will be poised to help them with their footwear.
     Hindsight is 2020. It was a perfect year to start a business. learning under my belt, time to devote to late night work sessions, and an opportunity to test drive my business costly mistakes. I have a website of which I'm proud, incredibly loyal clients across the country, and a very long-list of priorities to start tackling! My goal for 2021 is to build awareness to the TANYA HEATH experience across the U.S.
     Upcoming blog posts will address more about the challenges of a small business, the brand that I seek to see in every American woman's closet, and a bit about my clients. Do you have a topic or a question about carving your own place in the workforce? Please share. I'd love to learn how you do it.
xo,
Sally
 

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